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Court frown on civic cruelty to hospital strays

A Calcutta High Court division bench gave the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) a week’s time to think of more humane ways of picking up strays from hospital campuses.

On a complaint filed by Krishna Sinha, an animal-lover who witnessed a CMC team separate newborn pups from their mothers during a clean-hospital drive, the bench — comprising Chief Justice A.K. Mathur and Justice A.K. Bannerjee — asked the CMC why its workers were violating provisions of the law while carrying out the drive.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act bans catching strays with tongs and forceps and, instead, recommends lassos and other soft-loops for the purpose. When the CMC’s legal representatives explained that civic staff was not trained to use these alternatives and might face “problems”, the court told them to come back next Tuesday with an exhaustive list of the “problems”.

Outside the court, the Calcutta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (CSPCA) suggested to the government that the “airport experiment” could be repeated in hospitals to rid them of strays. “When the airport authorities told us of the problems they were facing from scavenging birds and animals on or near runways, we asked them to ensure that food-bins and vats were removed from their vicinity. This solved the problem to a large extent,” a CSPCA official said on Tuesday.

A meeting was held at the CSPCA office with state officials a few days ago, after reports of the CMC’s “illegal and inhuman” ways of catching strays.

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